When Rob Ryan was fired, a few people asked about him as the Eagles DC. My response was “no”. Maybe “heck no”. Or even “Please dear god no”. It is easy to say no to Rob. He’s never been part of a winning team as DC. He’s only had one defense finish Top 10 in yards. He’s never had a Top 10 scoring defense. His highest ranking in takeaways is 13th. There is hype with Rob, but reality tells a much different story.
At the time Ryan was fired, I had visions of the Eagles hiring some defensive guru that we’d all get excited about. The search for a DC hasn’t exactly gone in that direction. Ed Donatell, Billy Davis, and Ted Monachino aren’t the most compelling names. That led me to wonder if we should reconsider Rob Ryan.
He had a job lined up with the Rams, but according to reports the situation fell apart. Rob is a 3-4 guy. Jeff Fisher is a 4-3 guy. It would seem that Fisher realized Rob coaching a 4-3 wasn’t going to work, probably because his heart wasn’t in it. Rob ran the 4-3 when he coached in college and produced some good defenses. It was the evil Bill Belichick who turned Rob onto the 3-4.
Let’s put the other candidates up to the Rob Ryan test.
Ed Donatell: only one losing season as DC (5 winning)…no Top 10 yardage defenses…one Top 10 scoring defense…3 Top 10 takeaway defenses
Billy Davis: one winning season as DC (3 losing)…no Top 10 defenses in yards or points (14th is highest ranking)…1 Top 10 takeaway defense
Ted Monachino: has never been an NFL DC…is part of a Super Bowl team this year…Ravens D was Top 10 in Pts/Yds from 2009-2011
Rob’s track record isn’t good, but none of these guys has great numbers.
I’m still not a fan of Rob’s, but it isn’t as easy to dismiss him now that we see who his competition likely is. The argument for Rob is that he’s got the most DC experience of any of these coaches and he can put together a good gameplan. There is also a bit of a chicken or the egg thing going on with his track record. Not many guys who worked in Oakland and Cleveland have good numbers. Those organizations have been bad for a long time.
Numbers aside, I still can’t get fired up for Rob. His defenses are sloppy and can be very undisciplined at times. That’s not something I’m all that into, oddly enough. It might be worth it to interview him, but he’d have to be sensational to convince me that he could be the right guy for the Eagles.
I asked about Rob on Twitter and the replies were 95 percent negative. I figured it would be more in the 85 percent range. Apparently Jimmy Bama has permanently ruined Rob’s name with Eagles fans. I can’t wait for the day when I get to tell Rob all the mean things Jimmy said about him.
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Les Bowen talked to Donatell. Ed said there has been no “official contact” with the Eagles. This doesn’t mean there has been unofficial contact. Ed might have been saying that phrase as opposed to media speculation. Something tells me the Niners would get pretty ticked off if they thought we were talking to Donatell as the team prepared for the Super Bowl.
The most interesting nugget is that Donatell says he is now a 3-4 coach.
“I’m a 3-4 coach now. There’s no question about it,” Donatell said. ” I just think there’s more combinations you can do, and there’s more flexibility to it.” Donatell worked as a senior advisor to the Jets, who ran a 3-4, then spent two years in Denver in a 3-4 before coming to the 49ers, who also employ that scheme.
“I went and did some extra studying, my masters work, learning from some really good guys,” said Donatell, who said he knows Kelly from a visit Kelly made to the Niners. Donatell sounded very much like someone who would like to have a crack at running his own 3-4.
Recent rumors made it sound like Donatell was more of a long shot, but who knows. Maybe he’s still very much in the mix.
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Jeff McLane spoke to Ted Monachino. The most interesting nugget to me…Monachino has no agent. There definitely is no backdoor deal in place with him.